Christmas-2020 News

December 13, 2020
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Christmas 2020 Newsletter



Thank you for your support this year

Just about every cliché has been used to describe how 2020 has impacted on every aspect of all our lives and at Malawi Schools Trust, we’ve had our fair share of frustrations as well as delights in the form of unexpected kindness from our wonderful supporters.

Like many charities, we’ve found it difficult to fundraise in the normal way and it’s also been challenging to get resources out to Malawi.  However, we have seen some progress and this newsletter offers a little catch up on what’s been happening in the UK and Malawi.

We are also very aware that however this year has shaped up in the UK, our friends in Malawi have had it tougher and they need our help more than ever.

So, a huge thank you to our private donors and organisations who are helping to continue our work – we simply couldn’t do it without you!

With best wishes,

from all of us at Malawi Schools Trust
[email protected]

Impact of Covid on Education

When the extent of the pandemic became clear back in March, we immediately allocated some funds to provide handwashing stations and support an information programme run by Medic Malawi.

And although thankfully the virus did not take hold as we feared in the beginning, the economic impact has been terrible and in terms of education, an absolute catastrophe.

With no electricity or equipment to access online learning or even UNICEF’s radio education programme, it was simply impossible for the students in Mikuyu to receive any kind of schooling.

Sadly, children as young as 14, and mostly girls, have looked to marriage as an alternative and in the last few months, we have heard that this has happened in both of the schools we support.  We learned that five girls were married over the summer and one is already pregnant.

Two of these girls were persuaded to return to school when the schools reopened in October and the girl who is pregnant has said she would like to return after her baby is born. So far, we don’t have any news of the other two.

We know children in Malawi will have the best chance of a better life, for themselves, their families and wider communities if they can complete their education.

As life begins to return to normal, we’re determined to continue our support for Mikuyu Senior School.

Christmas Cards by Ollie

Huge thanks to Ollie Bateman from Frensham Heights School who created some fabulous designs for our Christmas Cards this year.

Ollie visited Malawi in Summer 2019 as part of the team who helped to renovate the classrooms at Mikuyu Senior School. He saw first hand how a good education can transform the lives of children and their community.

Ollie says: My trip to Mikuyu will stick with me for the rest of my life. They are some of the warmest and kindest people I’ve ever met.

Ollie’s cards are available at Making a Difference Cards along with many other festive designs.

Textbooks arrive in Mikuyu

It was wonderful to have some good news to end this year, when the first consignment of textbooks, donated by Farnham Rotary were delivered to Mikuyu Senior School.

Michael Atkinson, from Rotary explained why they chose to support this project:

We know education can transform the lives of children in the world’s poorest countries, but it’s often difficult to know exactly how to help. Because Malawi Schools Trust works in direct partnership with the school, we were able to get an exact list of the books that were needed. The reassurance that our donation will have a real, direct and lasting impact is really important to us.

A further 500 euros has just been donated from the Rotary Club in Wetter, Germany which will be used for the second consignment.

The order will be placed when we have agreed with the teachers exactly what books they need, and we hope to get the next consignment on the way soon.

The books will be housed in the new school library, on shelves constructed by a team of students from Mikuyu Senior School and Frensham Heights and who visited in Summer 2019.

We’d love to supply some solar panels for this building which will allow students to study in the evenings and may eventually enable internet access too.

We were thrilled to get a little press coverage too with an article in the Farnham Herald on 3 December 2020. You can read it on our website.

Support from Frensham Heights

We were delighted when Frensham Heights School chose Malawi Schools Trust to be their charity in September.

Miles to Malawi
Usual fundraising activities have been hampered by covid restrictions, but they have just started working creatively within their year group bubbles to cover the distance from Frensham Heights to Malawi by the end of February 2021 while raising some sponsorship money along the way.

Children in Year 4 have already covered over 30 miles and one senior school class is leading the way on 500 miles, helped by a few avid cyclists among the staff and students.

Cookie Sales
Some students have been busy baking cookies during their lunch hours and sold them to their friends at breaktimes, with £200 raised already.

Christmas Trees
A further £400 was raised by the school earlier this month through the sale and delivery of Christmas trees. Many thanks to Lynn and Sabine who spent a whole Saturday delivering some festive magic!

Thank you to all at Frensham Heights – keep up the good work!

Menstruation Project

We introduced the menstruation project to the girls at Mikuyu Senior School in July 2019 and since then, not a single girl has missed school in Mikuyu because she had her period.

We are so grateful to Friends of Frensham who funded the first year’s costs and are thrilled that an member of Rotary Club Wetter in Germany has agreed to privately fund a further year meaning this programme will continue to support girls’ attendance at school until September 2021. It costs £500 a year to run this truly a life-changing initiative, which also supports the local business that produces the containers. Read more:

2021 Focus: Teacher Housing in Mikuyu

Our fundraising focus for 2021 will be to provide two houses for the teachers in Mikuyu.

This sounds like an enormous target – and it will certainly make an incredible difference to the school – but just £11,000 is all it takes to build a duplex for two teachers and their families.

Accommodation for teachers might also not seem like the most important priority for a school. However, this is essential infrastructure that underpins the long-term security and stability for the whole school community.

Our friend and supporter, Andrew Fisher explains why teacher accommodation is so important in a short film on our website, which you can view here:

We need your help!

No matter whether big or small, if you are able to donate to one of our projects, we’d love to talk to you about the difference your gift will make to children in Malawi. Get in touch.

If you have skills and knowledge in fund raising or developing world educational and health projects or a great network to help us raise money through or just some simple energy and passion to get things done right and quickly, please get in touch. Get in touch.

Finally, if you haven’t already done so, please sign up to support us through EasyFundraising and AmazonSmile.
Thank you for your support!





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